Gastric Bypass: The Decision
Gastric Bypass: The Decision
Chad Cooper (Roux-en-Y Post-Op.) gives expert video advice on: How much weight did you lose after gastric bypass?; What made you decide to have gastric bypass surgery?; Was there a 'last straw' that made you choose bypass surgery? and more...
How much weight did you lose after gastric bypass?
After the Gastic Bypass procedure I lost 264 pounds. I didn't actually have a number for a goal weight. My goal was to live a comfortable life and be at a weight that my body was most comfortable with. As of today I'm living very comfortably and I'm very comfortable with the weight I'm at after the Gastic Bypass procedure. But, you know, I am dropping a little more weight but I'd say I'd be roughly around 199 pounds.
What made you decide to have gastric bypass surgery?
Why I decided to have the gastric bypass surgery was because I had attempted to lose weight using many other diets. You name, I did it. But at the end of the day, I needed a strong tool, I needed a tool that was physically restrictive, that truly there was a guarantee that it was going to change my life in some way or not. Whether it was going to be for the good, or the bad, I knew that it was going to change my life and that's what I needed.
Was there a 'last straw' that made you choose bypass surgery?
There were a few last straws. Many included just basic activities that would leave me winded, breathless, and just not enjoying many things; not being able to fit into booths, avoiding situations that I didn't want to avoid, avoiding family gatherings because you didn't want to show up another year as you've gained more weight, and be subject to discussions. When, at the end of the day, you just want to be around family. You almost knew that, walking into the situation, it was almost always going to focus around gaining weight from the year before.
Were you afraid to have gastric bypass?
Yes, I was very afraid to have Gastric Bypass. It is a life threatening, you know, it's a very intense surgery that you have to live with the rest of your life. The new physical chemistry, the new mental chemistry is something that will be with me every day for the rest of my life and will impact every day of my life.
What scared you most about gastric bypass?
The thing that scared me most about gastric bypass surgery was I had never had any type of surgery. Surgery in general scared me, but at the same time this wasn't repairing a broken bone. This was hard-core surgery, this was life-threatening. You read everything in the newspapers that tend to focus on the negative aspects of the surgery. I had to live with that. It took me quite some time to make this decision. But, yes, I was very scared up until the moment I went under.
Did you see gastric bypass as an easy fix?
I definitely did not see Gastric Bypass as an easy fix. To me it was a tool that was for those who really needed it. An easy fix is something that really hardly affects you every day. Whether you, you know, you have a scrape on your hand and you put the bandaid on, that's an easy fix. You forget about it. But the Gastric Bypass, it's just a tool. One of many tools you have to use to lose a great deal of weight. Every day of my life, I'm making decisions because of this surgery. The first six months out of the surgery were living hell. The first two weeks were extremely tedious and excrutiating. And the pain involved. An easy fix definitely is not what I would call this.
How did your family and friends react?
My family and friends were very involved in my decision making in this. I would have to say my family more so. We didn't do the traditional intervention but it just came to the point where I was no longer denying that the situation had gone way beyond where it needed to be and we just started talking about it. In the beginning we said lets start researching it. So each person in my family, we put together kind of a task force, and each person was to take on a different aspect of researching the surgery. After that we basically just talked about it and sought out advice from many different people and then the decision was made to do it.
Is gastric bypass painful?
I had mine done laparoscopically, so laparoscopic surgery obviously is less intense than an open procedure. But still, you have the gas that rises up in your shoulders. But at the end of the day, it was quite a bit of pain. Any type of food or water in the beginning, you could feel it running through your body, and your body was adjusting. After the fact, just doing everyday things, such as lying down, getting up, walking -- extremely excruciating, because so many muscles are cut in this surgery. The recovery time is pretty intense.
Is gastric bypass expensive?
Gastric bypass can be very expensive, however, if you, like me, are in a situation where you are almost out of options, and your insurance company sees this -- they see that you need a lot of help right now -- your surgery can be covered by insurance. My surgery was covered by my insurance company, and the out-of-pocket expense was extremely low. But, I find that nowadays, there are so many surgery farms out there that are willing to just take a cash payment, and that to me is not the best situation for the surgery. It took me six months of mental meetings with my program, before they even accepted me into the program. It's all about understanding people, understanding the surgery, and understanding truly how it's going to impact your life. I feel that my program actually took as much effort investigating me as I did them, because they were not going to invest into me if they didn't feel I was going to be a success story for them, because the surgery can be very dangerous, if you're not willing to understand it and live with it for the rest of your life.
What's the worst part about gastric bypass surgery?
The worst part of Gastric Bypass surgery probably is the complications that can arise after the fact, which can include gall stones, which can include what I had, an internal Hernia, which is where your organs are used to having so much fat between so they are cushioned, and then, when you remove that fat rapidly, there's room for misalignments. And basically my bowels wrapped around each other, where they had been comforted by fat, and actually cut each other off, the bowels, and cut the blood supply off to my bowels. That was an emergency situation that required corrective surgery, which could have been very dangerous.
Would you recommend gastric bypass?
I would recommend gastric bypass to a person who has spun so out of control of their weight that they need this tool. It's not an easy fix because you will live with it every day of your life and you really should be significantly overweight. It's not a tool if you're 50 pounds over weight, because sure you'll lose it - but it's not worth it, it's really not worth living with it for every day of your life. It's when you've come to a point where nothing else is going to work, you need this tool - that's when I would recommend the gastric bypass surgery. If and only if you're ready for it. If you're ready to take on what it takes to live every day after gastric bypass surgery.
What are the eating restrictions after gastric bypass?
There are many different schools of thought but they all spiral around an essential theme, low fat, low carb, high protein. During the first few weeks each program will have their own restrictions. I was personally on a high protein, liquid only diet for a couple of weeks. Then you gradually are allowed to incorporate other foods in your diet. Now that I'm well over a year out I can pretty much eat whatever I want. However I look at many things, including protein content, fat, cholesterol, what's it doing for me basically? Is it providing something for me? Is it going to help me with protein? That's always first, protein. Also I wouldn't recommend smaller foods that may be more difficult to digest, such as rice, pasta breads. Things that either will stick to each other or things that are really small, I wouldn't recommend. But after a year out you can pretty much eat whatever you want. And that's when it gets more dangerous because you're not feeling the restriction; your body's not reacting the same way as it did during your 'honeymoon phase' as they call it, during your first six months to a year.